Frediano & Finkleberry were in quarantine, in my bedroom, from the 14th of March until the 10th of April.
The change in surroundings & routine would be significant for them, but at least they had each other. I always think quarantine is easier when there is more than one bird, & that it is particularly difficult if the budgie was with others, but is then suddenly alone. So, I felt reasurred that Frediano & Finkleberry had each other, especially as I was initially spending time with an unwell Lennie & then later, a solo Moriarty. So, unlike other quarantine times, I did not spend as much time with them as I would have liked.
My first impressions were that Frediano & Finkleberry were fairly quiet & only really moved to get something to eat or drink. Given they had been living with predators (cats), I felt that, for survival, they had learned to not draw attention to themselves.
Quarantine is usually a good time for taming but in this instance, I felt that their previous lack of interaction with people meant a lesser goal of them not panicking when I changed food/water & the bottom paper, was more appropriate. The first few times, when I changed their seed pots, they flew to the other end of the cage in fright. Later, they calmly moved to the other side of the cage, then gradually they were comfortable staying put.
As a precaution, I had booked a home vet visit for the 20th of March for Lennie, but as he was no longer with us, I decided to keep the appointment for the new boys, particularly as I had some concerns. One of my concerns was the extensive rust on the mirror toy I was given by the previous owner. I showed it to the vet so she could bear it in mind during her examination. I also noticed that Finkleberry often sat with his head bowed quite low & wondered if that could be a health issue or just behavioural.
My bedroom is not set up for flying birds, so in case either Frediano or Finkleberry escaped from the vet’s grasp, I did some rudimentary bird-proofing of the room, in particular covering gaps at the back of larger, harder to move furniture. (Not sure what the vet thought when she saw the bubble-wrapped room!)
Frediano was first to be examined. He weighed 55g – the vet thought he was on the chubby side but suspected that was due to lack of exercise/flying, so hopefully would remedy itself. He also had a temperature but the absence of any other clinical signs made her think it was temporary & stress related. His toenails needed to be trimmed (previous lack of perch variety), so whilst the nurse located the clippers, Frediano was put in the small carrier cage whilst Finkleberry was examined. Finkleberry weighed just 32g, which the vet thought was right for him as he is naturally a small bird. She could feel his heart, which suggested it was enlarged – this could be congenital or diet-related. Finkle got his toenails trimmed & tidied up, as did Frediano, who also had a beak trim too.
It is worth noting that when Frediano was put back in the cage with Finkleberry, Finkleberry immediately started preening Frediano’s head – it was the first time I had seen this. (Previously I had seen it happen the other way around on a couple of occasions).
Finkleberry has a closed, black ring on his right leg & the vet confirmed it reads “NB 19 OU PG 17”. We believe it means he was the 17th chick hatched in 2019. An internet search confirmed that black leg rings were issued for 2019, so he is older than expected. Assuming he hatched towards the end of 2019, he is over 3 years old – possibly very similar in age to Moriarty.
As a precaution, I collected their droppings for 7 days, to be tested for Chlamydia, which fortunately came back negative.
After the disturbance of the vet visit, I felt we could truly begin to make progress with Frediano & Finkleberry becoming relaxed & comfortable in their new home.